Women’s Basketball Continue to Improve in 2022


Christopher Palm

Jayla Galbreath drives to the hoop while Anna Mahan clears a path

The Women’s Basketball program at Penn State Harrisburg continued to put in the effort heading into 2022.

Despite two of their conference games being postponed to later in the season and their game against Messiah cancelled, the Harrisburg Lions did not let any setbacks get in their way heading into January.

“We’ve come together really well as a team,” said junior guard Jayla Galbreath. “We had some growing pains but with conference play just now starting, we’ve really come together as a team.”

It would not be until the middle of the month when the Lions would travel to Williamsport to take on Penn College.

The Lions regrouped after the first quarter to hold off the Wildcats 71-66, with Galbreath scoring 22 points with Alli Walton tallying up 11 points and seven rebounds.

“Having multiple games canceled in a row is not really fun,” said sophomore guard Jenna Montana. “We were a little bit rusty but we just had to pick it up after a month of not playing.”

The next day, the Harrisburg Lions returned home to the Capital Union Building to play Penn State Abington, winning in record-breaking style 105-62.

The team set a new single-game program record for the most points and matched the single-game record with 18 three-pointers made and 28 assists.

“Scoring-wise, it was kind of spread out across a lot of our players,” said Montana. “It’s always fun to see the whole entire team succeeding in that (the players’) perspective.”

Galbreath led the team with 17 points and six assists as Ciani Redd-Howard tacked on 14 points and nine rebounds, including three straight 3-pointers in the first quarter.

The Lions would then escape with a road win over Gallaudet 72-70 with Kendis Butler leading the way with 21 points and Galbreath with 15 points and 4 assists.

“(Butler) was clutch for us,” said Galbreath. “that’s been really beneficial for us when it comes to scoring and hitting our shots and putting us in a really good spot for conference play.”

Returning to the CUB, the Lions made a bounce-back effort in the second half with an 82-72 win over Lancaster Bible.

Redd-Howard kept the momentum going that game with 21 points and eight rebounds while Galbreath recorded 18 points and Butler scored 12 points.

The winning streak would not last as St. Mary’s pulled away with a narrow win over the Lions 67-59 after a late charge by Penn State Harrisburg.

Anna Mahan and Redd-Howard led the team that game with 11 rebounds and 12 points respectively but the clock was in St. Mary’s favor to draw the loss.

“We’ve been down a lot at halftime,” said Montana. “We have to come out (of the locker room) like it’s 0-0, no matter what the score is.”

The Lions would bounce back in their last non-conference game of the regular season, beating Clarks Summit 82-66.

Combining their defense with the shooting, the team was able to pull away going into the fourth quarter recording 12 3-pointers with Giahny Correa and Butler scoring 13 points apiece.

Montana also contributed to the effort with 12 points and seven rebounds as did Mahan with 11 point and five assists.

“We’ve really come together to be able to push each other, to be able to lead in the way that we do,” said Galbreath.

The Lions would continue to put in the effort on the road in a 73-50 victory over Wells, despite a shaky start to the game and making a strong second-half comeback.

Macy Carroll recorded four 3-pointers to her 12 points that night with Galbreath and Butler scoring 11 points each and Mahan with nine points and 12 rebounds.

Adversity would soon hit the Harrisburg Lions in a couple of losses on the road against Morrisville State and St. Mary’s.

“(The coaches) have kept out spirits really high and really have been motivating us to keep the grind and readiness to stay on the court through all the pains that come with a long season like this,” said Galbreath.

The Harrisburg Lions looked to continue the season with optimism moving forward with a back-to-back sweep over Penn State Berks both home and away.

Among new records set during the home game were the most points in a game (112 points), field goals and field goal percentage (44-71 (62.0%)), three-pointers (23-41), assists (33), and steals (27).

Butler and Montana led the team in dominating fashion with a combined 39 points with Redd-Howard, Montana and Mahan combining 30 rebounds.

Returning home to the CUB, the Lions faced Penn College in a close-nit matchup, resulting in a 61-50 win over the Wildcats.

Montana was credited with 15 points and seven rebounds while Mahan scored 13 points and also had seven rebounds on the night.

“Having as much fun as we can,” said Mahan.  “The fun is what motivates us.  It keeps everything fresh.”

The Lions’ ended their home season with more history made despite losing to Gallaudet 64-60 on Senior Day.

With Mahan recording a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, it was Butler who came out on top as she became the fastest player in the team’s history to record 1,000 points in her collegiate career.

“I couldn’t have gotten the shots without our team,” said Butler.  “I think just working together is the main goal in point.  That’s what leads to success.”

Things would turn around for the Harrisburg Lions with road wins over Penn State Abington and Lancaster Bible.

Finishing third in regular season play at 11-5, the Lions qualified for the United East Conference tournament but fell short of moving on to the Championship game, losing to Morrisville State 78-60.

Butler and Galbreath received recognition by the United East Conference earning all-conference first team and all-conference second team honors, respectively.

“Just supporting one another and working together,” said Butler.  “I think it starts from the leaders.”